Tricky Japanese terms: 一応 (originally posted on uCoz)

一応 (ichiou) can be one of the harder words to deal with. I translate it as "technically" relatively often, as both terms are often used when a description is technically accurate but may not necessarily have any practical relevance. That's not exactly what the term means, though, and in some contexts it doesn't work at all.

The idea I get from both usage and dictionaries is that 一応 is typically used when someone or something is not ideal, but is good enough to deal with the task at hand, or is at the very least better than nothing: 「一応出来ました」 (It's finished, but I'm not confident of the quality). It can also be used when you're not sure something is necessary, but do it anyway just in case: 「一応傘を持って行く」 (I'll take an umbrella with me even though I'm not sure I'll actually need it). The key seems to be uncertainty in whether or not what you're commening on will actually be useful or relevant. The fact as presented is a fact, but there may not be any point to it.